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A tradition that has been practiced since the beginning of mankind is now being questioned by many as to if it is still necessary in our modern world. This long-held human tradition is hunting. Many questions have arose in recent years from this controversy as to if hunting is humane and ethical to animals or if it actually helps the environment. There are many different stances on this argument, but I am going to present the best arguments I have found throughout my research on this topic. In the article, “Hunting is Crucial to Conservation”, Dr. Richard Emslie and Dr. Michael H. Knight argue that animal ecosystems in African game parks would actually be worse off without trophy hunting and hunting in general. In fact, this claim was backed by the support of the United Kingdom’s Prince William. Others although think that hunting and trophy hunting actually brings damage to animal ecosystems. Canadian academic David Suzuki discusses this in his article, “Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunting Is a Sport Like Dogfighting”. Mr. Suzuki takes a stance against trophy hunting by focusing on the problems that it is causing in British Columbia. He states, “I’m not against hunting–and many who oppose the trophy hunt agree that sustainable hunting can be a good way to put food on the table. But shooting an animal–often on its way to feed and thus an easy target–just to hang its head on the wall or put its skin on the floor is not hunting. It’s killing for pleasure” (2016). Although hunting can bring damage to animals and natural ecosystems when it is practiced illegally and abused by poachers, it can bring great benefit to humans and even animals when it is practiced properly.
Hunting, when practiced improperly, can bring irreparable damage to ecosystems and even bring endangered animals to extinction. An example of this can be found in the Canadian territory of British Columbia. There has been a large controversy over the British Colombian government’s apparent inability to enforce bans on trophy hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest. This controversy is the premise of David Suzuki’s aforementioned article. He claims that, “the British Columbian government has never recognized the Coastal First Nations ban on trophy hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest” (2016). This is of serious concern because killing these bears, only for the purpose of obtaining a trophy to take home jeopardizes their species and may take away future generations opportunity to admire the bears in their natural habitat. Mr. Suzuki also claims that, “The bears eat salmon and drag the carcasses into the forest, providing food for other animals, like eagles, and fertilizer for the massive rainforest trees” (2016). Because of these bears’ important role in the British Columbian ecosystem, the extinction or decline of bear populations would lead to a drastic change in British Columbia’s ecosystem. This issue is a perfect example how a government that does not enforce its’ laws on the conservation of animals can lead to the malpractice of hunting, which in turn can have a widespread and drastic effect on animal ecosystems, the natural environment, and future generations of humans.
In spite of this story of how hunting can bring negative effects to animals and the environment, when practiced properly it can bring positive benefits to humans and animals themselves. An example of this is presently occurring in game parks across Africa. Trophy hunters are being allowed to hunt animals that are native to the African savanna legally for exorbitant amounts of money, some hunts costing up to $350,000 for a black rhino. In turn the money that is earned from the trophy hunts is given back to fund local African communities and more importantly conservation efforts to save even more animals native to Africa from poaching and other illegal forms of hunting. This is discussed by Dr. Richard Emslie and Dr. Michael H. Knight in their aforementioned article, “Hunting is Crucial to Conservation”. Dr. Emslie and Dr. Knight argued that “Ethical hunting can provide a good revenue stream – and an incentive to maintain wildlife – for people of the tourism trail” (2016). This quotation further confirmed that in certain situations, trophy hunting can actually be beneficial for animals and the environment when the profits from it are put back into conservation efforts.
In conclusion, trophy hunting and hunting in general can be helpful and have a positive effect on animal ecosystems when laws are enforced to prevent illegal hunting and poaching. Hunting has helped humans and animals since the beginning of mankind and it can continue to be beneficial in the world today.
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